- Video shows Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin digging his knee into George Floyd’s neck as he becomes unresponsive
- Witnesses pleaded for Chauvin to get off Floyd as blood came from his nose and he became unresponsive
- Officer Tao Thao blocked witnesses from trying to help Floyd and refused to remove Chauvin for close to ten minutes
- Thousands have taken to the streets of Minneapolis demanding for Chauvin to be charged for the death of Floyd
An incredibly disturbing video has caused a mass uprising in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd. The video that has now gone viral on social media shows Officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck as he repeatedly tells the officer he cannot breathe.
Floyd was not the only person pleading with Chauvin to let him breathe. Onlookers began pleading with Chauvin to get off Floyd’s neck as his nose began to bleed and he became unresponsive. At one point Chauvin pulled out his pepper spray as a witness began to approach him while telling him to get off of Floyd. A second officer, Tou Thao, is seen in the video blocking witnesses from approaching Floyd and refusing to tell his fellow officer to get off the subdued suspect.
Since videos of the incident went viral, four officers have been fired according to Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. Mayor Jacob Frey said terminating the officers was the “right decision for our city.” However, the decision to fire the officers has not been enough to calm anger in Minneapolis as thousands flooded the streets on Tuesday in protest. The entire incident is deeply disturbing to watch. Chauvin keeps his knee buried deeply into the back of Floyd’s neck for nearly the entire duration of the over ten-minute video. Paramedics arrive towards the end of the video as an unresponsive Floyd is placed in the ambulance.
A statement released by the Minneapolis Police Department says two officers responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South shortly after 8:00 Monday evening on a report of a forgery in progress. The statement claims that after Floyd stepped out of the vehicle he resisted arrest. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering from medical distress,” the statement reads. Officers called for an ambulance and Floyd was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center where he died shortly after arriving.
As time passes and outrage continues to grow, more videos are being shared on social media that directly conflict with the narrative given by the MPD. One short video appears to show Floyd being removed from a blue van and handcuffed by Chauvin and another unidentified officer.
A local restaurant owner has also handed over video footage and claims Floyd was not resisting officers. The security footage shows Floyd handcuffed and being walked away from the blue van by the two officers. The video makes it clear that Floyd was handcuffed while he was still next to his vehicle.
Making matters worse in the eyes of the public, both Chauvin and Thao have a history of violence during their time with the MPD. Chauvin was a 19-year veteran of the MPD and has worked for the first, third, fourth precincts and the waterworks security detail. In 2008 he shot Latrell Toles in the torso during a domestic assault call. According to the Pioneer Press, just before 2 a.m., 911 dispatchers received a call and a 911 operator could hear a woman yelling for someone to stop hitting her. When officers arrived, Toles ran but officers caught him. While trying to subdue Toles, the MPD claims he grabbed for an officer’s gun, at which point Chauvin shot him in the torso. Toles survived the shooting and Chauvin was placed on administrative leave.
According to the watchdog nonprofit Communities Unitied Against Police Brutality, Chauvin was also involved in a 2006 shooting. In a report titled “Stolen Lives,” Chauvin is one of the officers named in the shooting death of 42-year-old Wayne Reyes. Officers claimed Reyes pulled a shotgun on officers before he was fatally shot.
Thao was sued by Lamat Ferguson in 2017 along with Officer Robert Thunder for excessive use of force. Ferguson was said to be walking home with a woman that was eight months pregnant when he was stopped and searched by Thao and Thunder without probable cause. Ferguson was handcuffed before Thao threw him to the ground and began punching him while Thunder kicked him. Ferguson was taken to the hospital then taken to jail in only his underwear and a T-shirt despite hospital staff requesting he be allowed to get dressed. Thao claimed he punched Ferguson after one of his hands slipped out of the handcuffs. According to one of Ferguson’s attornies, Seth Leventhal, the case settled out of court for $25,000.